The Caffeinated Penguin

musings of a crackpot hacker

Armed Citizen Archives

| May 24, 2007

Look up where you live


| May 24, 2007

So, um, I just got off the phone with a nice lady from Google… She was trying to fill a position and was basically trying to headhunt me into it. Since she sought me out, I figured that I would at least speak with her.

The real problem is “location”. None of the places they have is a place I want to be, and at that the discussion basically ended…

However, it was interesting.


| May 24, 2007

So, I'm back from Vegas without incident. Things have been a little busy since getting back, however.

The grass was long when we left and now it’s positively a jungle out there, so I’m trying to get it mowed as quick as I can. The problem is that, in the tall grass, you can cut it faster than the bagger can bag it, so you must go really slowly. Couple that with the fact that I have to empty the bagger every 10 minutes (yes, it’s that much grass) and you begin to understand why I’ve been at it for 6 hours and am still only about half finished. However, the 54″ deck is definitely better than an 18″ walk behind mower. I’m finally caught up on email, and will post pictures as soon as I can; probably tonight. I have some other things to do so I won’t be mowing the lawn, which means I may have time for pictures. Meanwhile has some good ones. In fact, hers are probably better than mine, as I was in the wedding party and that means you’re not always in a good spot for pictures. The wedding was lovely, the resort was very nice, and Nevada is a beautiful place to visit. Vegas is a crazy overgrown frat party, and makes me very uncomfortable. Ironically, the most comfortable I was was when we were visiting the Harley Davidson cafe. This is probably because, as a general rule, bikers and rockers don’t bother me that much; I can pigeonhole them and their behavior is fairly predictable. Random people on the street however, are unknown, so each one needs to be assessed individually. Given the ever-changing dynamic of the crowd, this leads to major sensory overload as you attempt to threat assess everyone you see. Once you leave the city, Nevada is very nice. The mountains in the distance, rugged weathered landscapes, lake Mead and the Hoover dam. The difference between here and other places, like Alaska (still need to post pics), is that I could see moving to Alaska if it weren’t so far away. However, the residents can keep Nevada – too hot, dry and sandy. Unfortunately, Liz broke her camera on the trip. She dropped it and cracked the screen. However, she found another one with a working screen but a broken mechanism on eBay. She bid on it and won, so I will be fixing her camera in the near future. In other news, Liz’s interest combined with ‘s discussions on the subject and the desire for some amount of self-sufficiency have me very receptive to putting in a garden. To that end, Liz’s Dad was generous enough to come over and bring his tiller (the large kind which attach to the PTO on a tractor), which is much better for breaking ground on fresh plots. He tilled up two new decently sized plots (one in full sun all day, one in about 3/4 sun) and re-tilled one smaller existing plot (which is also about 3/4 sun). The soil is seems good, having been fallow for quite awhile, though it is quite sandy. This will likely be good for drainage. We still need to get a small tiller for continued tilling, and it looks like a used Troy-Bilt (the old kind which last forever) will be about $500 or so. We already have existing wild strawberries, blueberries, apple trees (of some variety, might be crabapple), and creeping thyme, and will encourage the growth of these (the thyme is good for erosion control). I am leaving the management of the garden to Liz – I am merely here for discussions and labor. So, she will decide what goes in, though I am insisting upon some herbs (and she agrees). I think she’s talking about a decent amount of peas and tomatoes. The idea here is that, at harvest time, we will vacuum pack and freeze the peas (I have a packer already), and I will pick up a pressure cooker and some jars and jar the tomatoes. Next year, we can start plants in the greenhouse room, because by then it will be up and running. Once this plays out, we will be getting a sizable portion of our food from the local ecosystem – our meat is mostly local deer (with some Montana elk and Idaho bear in there as well), and our vegetables will be from our garden. It won’t be 100% of it, but it will be some. I will also attempt to get more from local farmers markets come harvest time. Anyway, I must get to work.

Alignment Test

| May 22, 2007

From .

Neutral good, just like I thought. One issue – I WILL attack an unarmed person… including at 1000m with an appropriate rifle.

Your Score: Neutral-Good

74% Good, 46% Chaotic

Plane of Existence: Elysium, “Blessed Fields“. Description: The plane of peace. Notable Inhabitants: Guardinals – noble immortal humanoids with bestial features.

Examples of Neutral-Goods (Ethically Neutral, Morally Good)

Cloud Strife (FFVII)
Boogenhagen (FFVII)
Mother Theresa
Sidhartha Gautama (the Buddha)
Bilbo & Frodo Baggins
Samwise Gamgee
Indiana Jones
The Dali Lama
Ben (O-Bi-Wan) Kenobi
Luke Skywalker
Harry Potter

Often goes along with the laws and desires of the group as being the easiest course of action, but ethical considerations clearly have top priority. May pursue quite abstract goals. Often aloof and difficult to understand.

Will keep their word to others of good alignment
Would not attack an unarmed foe
Will not use poison
Will help those in need
May work with others
Indifferent to higher authority
Indifferent to organizations

Neutral Good “Pure Good”

A neutral good [person] will obey the law, or break it when he or she sees it will serve a greater good. He or she is not bound strongly to a social system or order. His or her need to help others and reduce their suffering may take precedence over all else. Neutral good [people] do good for goodness’ sake, not because they are directed to by law or by whim.

This alignment desires good without bias for or against order.

Other Alignments and Tendencies (Tendenices are what you would more often sway towards; esp. for Neutrals):
0-39% Good, 0-39% Chaotic: Lawful-Evil
0-39% Good, 40-60% Chaotic: Neutral-Evil
0-39% Good, 61-100% Chaotic: Chaotic-Evil
40-60% Good, 0-39% Chaotic: Lawful-Neutral
40-60% Good, 40-60% Chaotic: True Neutral
40-60% Good, 61-100% Chaotic: Chaotic-Neutral
61-100% Good, 0-39% Chaotic: Lawful-Good
61-100% Good, 61-100% Chaotic: Chaotic-Good

Link: The Alignment Test written by xan81 on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

It could be worse…

| May 16, 2007

Liz kind of begrudgingly allows my compulsive letter-writing to fight legislation I don't like, often to the exclusion of all else (for example, I haven't done as much on the house as I would like). I appreciate this, and I love her for it. Yesterday, she told me that it could be much worse, and she appreciates that my eccentricities are basically free.. unlike this fellow who is younger than me and something like 2.2 million in the hole from a bunch of real estate transactions. He lied on mortgage applications, then blogged about it, and many of the real estate ventures in which he is engaging have ended up being foreclosed. So, it could be worse… 🙂

Political advocacy – Bill HR 1022

| May 15, 2007

There are a pile of bad bills before congress now. This is the first which I have dissected, here.

In other news the Attorney General wants to increase penalties for copyright infringement – including life in prison for running pirated software. I suggest writing your congresspeople, as this violates a couple of core legal tenets: (1) The punishment should fit the crime. If I can get more jail time for running a pirated version of Photoshop than for running a meth lab, that's just wrong. (2) Copyright infringement should be a civil, not criminal matter. As much as big media would like to have you believe it, copyright infringement is not the same as robbery.

I will be commenting on this more later.

Celebratory beer

| May 15, 2007

is having a beer at 18:00 EST to celebrate the departure of Jerry Falwell from this earth. I will be joining him. Everyone is welcome to join us, wherever you are. Link to post

Arthur in the country

| May 14, 2007

I promised some pictures of Arthur enjoying the world…

Arthur Exploring Arthur Explores Arthur Has some Salad Arthur has a bit of salad. Mikey doesn't like nori Mikey provides evidence that not all cats like nori. Arthur in the window How much is that kitty in the window? Mikey helps us unpack Mikey helps us unpack.

NY Times followup

| May 14, 2007

Since the article I posted earlier was an editorial, I just wrote them a response.

To the Editorial Staff of the New York Times:

When I read the Editorial entitled "Silence On Guns" as was published
May 10, 2007, I could not help but be insulted. The writer of the
editorial capitalized on the Virginia Tech massacre to criticize the
current administration on two gun-related issues. The first was the
passage of the much-maligned Tiahrt amendment, which prohibits the
release of firearms trace data except as part of a bona-fide criminal
investigation. The second is regarding the bill S 1237, which is
currently before the Senate and seeks to allow the Attorney General to
prohibit gun sales to suspected terrorists.

The argument put forth in the editorial is fundamentally flawed, since
neither of these bills would have stopped the Virginia Tech massacre.
The Tiahrt amendment has nothing to do with prohibiting the sale of
firearms and therefore does not apply here. Furthermore, S 1237 would
only have applied if the shooter was on a terrorist watch list and the
Attorney General chose to block the sale. Since no one has mentioned
that he was a suspected terrorist, I presume that this would not apply

Now, had you really wanted to be clever, you would have used the
massacre to argue for the passage of HR 297, which aims to improve the
NICS background check system to include more information to prohibit gun
sales to more individuals. However, not only did you fail to construct a
cogent argument for the points you were trying to make, but you missed
the completely obvious one right before you.

In conclusion, I would appreciate if, in the future, you didn't insult
your readership with obviously fallacious arguments, as we are smarter
than that.


| May 13, 2007

Just so folks don't think that I've been letting my culinary skills wane, we have had a few interesting gastronomic events lately.

Last weekend my folks came up for a “see the house and early Mother's day”. Ribs were had. There was what purported to be traditional South Carolina style barbecue style, which consisted of a dry rub and a tangy tomato-based barbecue sauce. We also did another style, which had a spicy pomegranate glaze. The Carolina style was quite good and worth having again. The pomegranate ones were interesting, but were probably just a one-off. We also had grilled sweet potatoes brushed with a honey-lime glaze (very good), grilled peppers, mushrooms and tomatoes, and a green salad. My folks brought cake for dessert.

Today Liz and I made a brunch for Liz's Mom, which consisted of crepes with a tangy yogurt/cream cheese/orange filling and topped with a strawberry sauce, an fruit salad with melon, banana, mangoes, kiwi and strawberries, strawberry bellini (strawberry puree and prosecco, which is a sweet Italian sparkling white wine), a melon puree “shooter” topped with crispy prosciutto, a smoked salmon and cream cheese fritata (yes, it was some of our Alaskan salmon, yes I smoked it myself, with applewood). There was also some leftover melon and prosciutto, so I wrapped the melon with the prosciutto (because what else would one do?). Liz also made some chocolate orange mini cheesecakes which, as always, were quite good.

In other news, I pulled out the old, mostly broken bathroom vent and light and replaced it with a new one. Of course, this one dates from when the house was built, which means that they put it in, then put in the ceiling and the floor. This means that I can't actually get at where it was screwed into the floor joists. Of course, I don't want to cut through the floor to get at it from the top, so I used the sawzall to cut the screws and pull it out of the ceiling. The other one went in quite easily, although it doesn't quite fill the hole, so I need to pick up some drywall, furring, joint compound and fill around the hole. It won't match, but we're going to redo that bathroom anyway.

I'm also working up some gun-related political stuff (the laws here in NY are especially brain damaged, and the Democrats basically lied to get themselves back in power, and I suspect that they've basically cost themselves the next election, just like back in '94 with the old AWB). I will link to them here when they are complete.

Anyway, so that's pretty much what's going on right now.